Abstract

Polarization holographic and surface-relief gratings have been recorded in an amorphous azobenzene polyester by use of a frequency-doubled argon-ion laser beam at 257 nm. Higher excited states of azobenzene in the trans and cis configurations contribute to the formation of a diffraction grating in this experiment. A combination of right and left circularly polarized writing beams has been found to give the highest diffraction efficiency. The contributions to the total phase difference that arise from anisotropy and surface relief have been separated experimentally, and it is shown that the surface-relief grating contributes a larger phase difference than that which is due to anisotropy.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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